As an addict involved in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, I had to dig deep to find and embrace my inner Mormon. What follows is my journal from this point forward.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Summary of Sat. morning session of General Conference, October 2011


Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Scott spoke about the importance of the scriptures, both reading and memorizing them. He pointed out all scriptures are important to study, including the Old Testament.  He likened the studying to having a filing cabinet full of friends and advice.

He also spoke about Charity, quoting Paul (Moroni 7 if you choose).
 
Sister Barbara Thompson, RS Counselor
Sister Thompson themed her words around revelation and testimony.  She talked about how it can bless you during times of trial.  Her retelling of a captive who when asked how she kept her testimony stated, "I didn't keep my testimony during those times, my testimony kept me."  She spoke about revelation being mainly about impressions and not about audible speech, a message that would be reiterated by Elder Packer. She also stressed that just because you have a strong testimony now does not mean it will always be so.  We must continue to nourish it and keep it strong and growing.
   
 Elder L. W. Clayton, of the Seventy
 Recounted the amazing growth of the church and offered explanations that were centered in prophecy.  He quoted Daniel 2 and Joseph Smith - History.   He explained that this work is not the work of man but the work of God.  While we recognize and honor Joseph Smith as the prophet who restored the gospel, it is not about him or any one person.  It is the fact that this work is the work of the almighty God and his Son.  He paraphrased a quote about the once all emcompassing British empire and likened it to the work of the lord saying, that the sun never sets on the work of the Lord or his people.

Pres. Monson
The President gave a relatively short talk.  He spoke about the busy nature of their work and where they have been. It had been centered around temple dedications and redidications. He then stressed the importance of Temples and the Sacredness.  He announced new temples South Africa, Columbia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Star Valley Wyoming.  The later in the list generated a laugh likely from the fact it seemed odd having it juxtaposed next to so many exotic locations.  He reitreated that progress was being many for a temple in France.  The biggest stir came when he announced that the destroyed Provo Tabernacle will be rebuild as a second temple in Provo.

He also announced the Temple Patron Assistance Fund as a way of getting impoverished members or those who live great distances from temples to the temple for the first time.  Donations can be made on your standard donation form by checking "Other" and specifying this fund.

Jose Alonzo, of the Seventy
Elder  AlonzoStarted about how happiness was found in the teachings of the Savior.  He spoke of how many have lost much joy in life and how they can get it back.  He moved into service and how it brings happiness.  He spoke of how they once almost lost their son and the search for him.  He likened this to non-members or non-active members.  He told how they didn't make a committee or a process to find their son, they just went and did what they knew.  He mentioned how he found his son who had no idea he was lost.  Then he turned this back to our fellow man.  We need to plan less and do more. Was a key element in how to help your fellow man in both temporal and spiritual need.  He stressed that we do not delay giving service.

   
Elder Boyd K. Packer, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Packer gave perhaps the most widely varied talk, touching on many subjects as hedirected his words to the youth of the church. He explained the value of the wisdom of his age for the youth by quoting a poem by John Ciardi titled "About Crows."



ABOUT CROWS
by John Ciardi
The old crow is getting slow;
the young crow is not.
Of what the young crow does not know,
the old crow knows a lot.
At knowing things, the old crow is still
the young crow's master.
What does the old crow not know?
How to go faster.
The young crow flies above, below, and rings
around the slow old crow.
What does the fast young crow not know?
WHERE TO GO.

He then made it clear that the youth in this day are growing up in enemy territory, referencing the decaying morality that is all around us in our day. He reiterated that the family is central to the Lord's plan and referenced the Proclamation on the Family. He stressed that sexual relations are still strictly between husband and wife. He also stressed that even in the greatest of sins, repentance is always available.

He recalled his earlier days when entering the military. He spoke about how he did not have a strong testimony at this time, but that he relied on the testimony of others. Even if he did not know for certain, he knew that they knew that the Gospel was true. He consciously relied on their testimonies to carry him through until he gave his own strong testimony. He used this to demonstrate how relying on our elders and their strength can help the youth.

He pleaded with the youth to follow the leaders of this church. He quoted Amos 3:7 and explained that the leadership of this church is inspired by God and design to bless them to follow the Lord.

He also gave great comfort to the youth by recounting his own thoughts in his younger days when he felt that given the wickedness in the world, that the end must be soon. He told the youth that they can look forward to "doing it right." That they can have children and grandchildren and perhaps even great-grandchildren. That they are not to despair and look forward to the future with hope and faith.

Personal Note: After hearing his talk, I found myself a little sad. I am not making any predictions, but it did feel to me as though he were giving some of those final words that one gives towards the end of their ministry. Perhaps I shouldn't suggest such things as it focuses more on dramatic elements and less on these actual words. 

Pres. Uchtdorf
Pres. Uchtdorf began his remarks by stressing that we heed Elder Packer's guidance as given in his talk. He also gave gratitude for having Pres. Monson as a living prophet.

He then spoke about what he called "the paradox of man." He recounted Moses story in the Pearl of Great Price and how after seeing all of God's creations how Moses realized something he had never realized before; that man was nothing. He then used the Scriptures to demonstrate how God created all these things for us and explained this paradox being that we are nothing compared to God and yet we are everything to God. He explained two different ways that same deceives us. One is by allowing us to use our own wisdom and inventions to believe that we are all there is and that we and our own intellect are great enough that we don't need to believe in God and that in all of the cosmos we are the only thing that matters and our actions carry little impact and so righteousness has no value. The other is by making us believe that we are so meaningless so useless so insignificant that he discourages us into thinking that there is no hope or joy or love for us. He recounted his stories in flight school and the things he did in that small area and how they seem so meaningless and yet now he realizes they were great. He said he knew that if he did the best he could, inclined his heart towards God, and serve his fellow man that God would be there for him.

He stated whether it be marble halls or stable walls, that God knows us, loves us and watches us. That the souls that are gray in the eyes of God will very often be those unknown in history. He then gave us four things to remember. One, God loves the humble and meek. Two, the Lord and trust the fullness of the gospel to the week and simple (quoting D&C 1:19). Three that we are not invisible to our Heavenly Father. Four, our feelings of loneliness or discouragement will not be forever. We should have faith in the Lord and in his promises.


A collection of tweets relating to these talks can be found here.

http://storify.com/swiftj/lds-general-conference-saturday-morning

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